About The Group
The Lakeland Sisters appeared on the WSM Grand Ole Opry on January 23, 1937. They were on weekly until June 4, 1938. They were added to the show by Harry Stone; Judge Hay had taken leave from the Opry in December 1936 and did not return until March 1938.
Ann and Mary were the daughters of Andrew and Katherine Grabick, who were natives of Austria. The girls were both born in
Their musical career began on radio station WJMS in Ironwood, MI. Their career tookthem to Minneapolis and in 1935, to Detroit. In 1937, they made a successful audition and became members of the WSM Grand Ole Opry cast. Ann's obituary indicates their first appearance was on January 9, 1937 perhaps as a guest on another star's segment, which in that era was about 10-15 minutes only. From January 23, 1937 and onward, they were listed in the newspaper radio listings for WSM on Saturday nights.
Very little can be found written of a personal nature of the two sisters. In small promotional articles in newspapers, one can find hints of the songs they would sing.
They were known as the "Singing Cowgirls" and wore "vivid cowgirl accourtrements" and played their Hawaiian and Spanish guitars.
The sisters also seemed to do personal appearances with Robert Lunn, Happy Al Hicks and Rambling Red Majors frequently while they were on the Opry as promotional ads seem to indicate. In one instance Lunn and the Lakeland Sisters were a part of a large festival win which entertainers from six radio stations provided the entertainment in June of 1937 in Paducah, KY.
In 1938, Lunn and the Lakeland Sisters appeared as guest stars on radio station KWTO in Springfield, MO and were doing an appearance at the high school auditorium in Marshfield on June 3, 1938.
What is interesting to note is that the Lakeland Sisters were scheduled to perform in the 10:00pm time slot on Saturday, June 4, 1938 - seemingly their last appearance on the Opry. Marshfield was a bit northeast of Springfield, MO.
An internet earch using maps indicates that it would be a bout a 410 - 450 mile drive back to Nashville and possibly take six to seven hours. Which means the Lakeland Sisters, if they did indeed appear on June 4, probably got back to Nashville on Saturday morning or later. We have to keep in mind, there was no interstate highway network that we have today.
The Lakeland Sisters were known for their western costumes on the Opry. But in 1938, Rural Radio featured them in a spring fashion photo spread. Rural Radio described Ann's outfit (she's the one on the left) as "Roman Holiday." It was "...the new junmior model of navy sheer with Roman striped blouse. Her shoes are of navy gabardine. The outfit is topped off with a navy straw hat with vari-colored flowers to match the blouse. Note particularly the bag of stitched patent leather which gives the effect of alligator. Mary chooses a three-piece tailored wardrobe suit of Shetland wool ni the new color for spring, strawberry. All black accessories add the finishing touch." Their costumes in the picture were from Joseph Frank and Son at 209 6th Avenue in Nashville.
Our collection actually found a picture of them in an old WSM Family Album. It was not dated, but knowing the short tenure of the sisters on WSM, it was from about 1937 or 1938.
The Lakeland Sisters continued to make personal appearances after leaving the Opry in June 1938. Promotional ads show they were appearing with Gene Durnal and his Rio Grande Rangers as far east as Norfolk, VA.
It would appear the act broke up near the end of 1938. A promotional ad shows that Ann Lakeland appeared at a Friday Frolic in Alabama without her sister; Robert Lunn was also on the program as was Slim and Bob, The Harmony Boys.
Ann Grabick married Edward Lane on February 7, 1944 in Chicago, IL. They made their home in Wakefield, MI. He passed away in 1985. After his death, Ann moved to Iron River to live closer to her children.
Ancestry records show that Mary Margaret Grabrick married Milo J Castagna on December 7, 1956 in Santa Clara, CA. Her husband was a carpenter. He died on February 8, 1996.
The couple had four children: Darlene, Mary Lou, Caroline and Louis. One presumes she later married again as her last name at the time of death was Choate.
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